Every Thursday is Leadership Day.

I’m reading The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. From today on, I will share and would like to discuss some of my thoughts with you.

In the first law–the law of the lid, John Maxwell intended to tell us that there is a lid on a person’s leadership ability and this lid determines his level of effectiveness. The lower a person’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his leadership ability, and the lower his effectiveness. On the contrary, the higher the leadership ability, the greater the effectiveness. Your leadership ability always determines your effectiveness.

Thus, for a leader, his leadership ability determines the effectiveness of his organization. If his leadership is strong, his lid is high and his organization functions well. But if his leadership is weak, then the organization is limited. That’s why when in time of troubles the organization naturally looks for new leadership.

John Maxwell mentioned his talk with the chairman of a global hospitality advisory and consulting firm as an illustration. Whenever this firm came into a client and took over, they always started to do two things. First, they trained all the staff to improve their level of service. Second, they fired the leader. It is the leader who determines the potential impact on the organization.

The greater impact you want to make, the higher your lid needs to be. Fortunately, you can raise the lid by learning.

I can’t agree more that when in time of troubles, organizations need to find the problems of the leaders!

But I’m not quite agree with some of his lid theory. John Maxwell illustrated the McDonald’s brothers. He owed their failure in growing the franchise business to their lack of leadership ability, the low lid. While in fact, in his illustration, the McDonald’s brothers did make great success in the very beginning of their business. The reason why they failed later, in my opinion, was that they were better at customer service and kitchen organization than at franchising. It was not necessarily a problem of leadership ability, but a problem of match between their advantages and the requirements of the new business development. When the business was small, their advantages made them success. While they wanted to grow into franchising business, it was not their advantages, so they failed. But that does not necessarily mean they lacked leadership ability.

It’s the same to many of the other organizations. When a country begins experiencing a hard but new situation, the current president who did well in the past may not be good at handling the new situation, so the country needs a new president, but can we simply say the current president is lack of leadership ability or has a low lid? When a company is losing money because of changes of the competition, the current CEO who once made profits may not be good at handling the new situation, so the company seeks new CEO, but can we simply say the current CEO is lack of leadership ability or has a low lid?

No man is perfect and no man could own all the leadership abilities at the same time. If the highest lid means such a perfect leader, it’s not practical.

In summary, my point is we can’t simply say a person who fails in the new situation has a low lid. It may be that the new situation does not match with his advantages.

To conclude, we did learn from the first law, that if an organization has troubles, check the leaders.

What’s your opinon? I’d be glad to hear from you.